The Registrar’s powers

The Registrar has been given authority under the CDSSA to enforce the CDSSA and its regulations. For example, the Registrar may ask a collection agency to provide:

  • copies of letters, advertisements, contracts, agreements and similar materials used by the agency in its business
  • copies of audio recordings of calls to or from debtors, if an agency employs 10 or more collectors
  • trust account statements, bank reconciliations and other financial reports and documents
  • current financial statements signed by the proprietor or officer of your agency and certified by a person licensed under the Public Accounting Act, 2004
  • an accounting of trust funds received and paid out
  • any further information or material that the Registrar may require

In addition, the Registrar has the authority to:

  • propose to suspend, revoke or place conditions on your registration, or refuse to issue or renew your registration
  • order you to alter, amend, restrict or stop using any materials, such as agreements or advertising, that the Registrar believes are harsh, false, misleading or deceptive

See sections 4-8, section 21 and 25 of the CDSSA and subsections 13(4)-13(6), 13(11),17(8) and section 31 of the General Regulation for more information about the Registrar’s powers.

The Director’s powers

Where it appears that a person does not comply with the CDSSA or its regulations, the Director identified in the CDSSA may apply to the Superior Court of Justice for a court order directing that person to comply, and the court may issue such an order.

See section 27 of the CDSSA for more information about the Director’s powers.


Consumers can submit complaints about collection agencies to the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery.

If a complaint is filed against your business, the ministry (acting on behalf of the Registrar) may request additional information from you. By law, you must provide the requested information to the ministry.

Learn more about the ministry’s consumer complaint process. Also see section 12 of the CDSSA for more information about complaints.


Inspectors designated under section 13 of the CDSSA have the authority to inspect registered collection agencies. An inspector is entitled to access all documents, records and other items that are relevant to the inspection, including those in electronic form.

If asked, you must assist the inspector. You cannot:

  • obstruct an inspector
  • withhold, conceal, alter or destroy documents, records or other items relevant to the inspection

After an inspection, the inspector will review their findings with you and explain any next steps you must take.

The inspector may also issue a Notice of Contravention, which identifies any violations of the CDSSA and provides a timeframe for compliance.

See section 13 of the CDSSA or contact us for more information about inspections.

Administrative penalties

If you do not comply with the CDSSA, you may be ordered to pay administrative penalties of up to $10,000 in respect of certain contraventions, including:

If an administrative penalty is imposed, you have the right to appeal. This must be done by filing a notice of appeal within 15 days after you receive the Order of Administrative Penalty.

See sections 29.0.1-29.0.4 of the CDSSAsection 33 of the General Regulation and Ontario Regulation 461/17 for more information about administrative penalties.


You can dispute an order or Notice of Proposal to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew your registration by requesting a hearing before the Licence Appeal Tribunal. You must submit a notice requiring a hearing before the Tribunal within 15 days of being issued the order or proposal.

Visit the Licence Appeal Tribunal’s website or call 1-888-444-0240 (toll-free) for more information.

See section 8 of the CDSSA for more information about disputing proposals and orders.

Charges and offences

The ministry also has a team that investigates violations of the CDSSA and its regulations. Investigators determine if offences have been committed and, where appropriate, can lay charges.

You can be charged with an offence for knowingly:

  • contravening or attempting to contravene the CDSSA or the regulations
  • providing false information
  • failing to comply with any order, direction or other requirement made against you under the CDSSA or its regulations

If convicted, you can be fined up to $50,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years less a day. This includes officers and directors who do not take reasonable care to prevent a corporation from committing an offence or knowingly concur in the commission of the offence.

Corporations can be fined up to $250,000 upon conviction.

See section 28 of the CDSSA for more information about charges and offences.

Consumer Beware List

If you do not comply with the CDSSA, your business name and details may be published on the Consumer Beware List.

The Consumer Beware List is a searchable public record. The ministry maintains this searchable list of individuals and businesses that:

  • have not responded to the ministry in the required manner after the ministry sent them two notifications about a consumer complaint
  • have failed to correct contraventions identified during a ministry inspection
  • have been issued certain orders under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002
  • where the individual or business is appointed, licensed, or registered by the ministry, have had actions taken against their appointment, licence, or registration
  • have been charged or convicted for contraventions of the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act and other consumer protection statutes

Information about a business remains on this list for 21 to 27 months.

Learn more about the Consumer Beware List.